Tuesday, October 12, 2010

San Francisco For A Week

We just spent a full and exciting week in San Francisco, so this post will be a long one. Fortunately, we had clear blue skies the entire time which kept us energized for lots of adventures. George has a cousin (yes, another) that lives in San Francisco, and we stayed with Dan and his partner, Emma, for 3 nights of our stay. They live in "The Mission" district of town, and one day we walked from their apartment up to Bernal Heights Park for a great view of the city, and then to a local taqueria for lunch.

Another day, we explored the city on our bikes. Armed with a bike map that shows where the bike routes and hills are located (in order to avoid the latter), we biked up to Haight Ashbury to visit the infamous birthplace of the hippie movement and the original stompin' grounds of The Grateful Dead.

We also had another reason to visit Haight Ashbury; Adalaya wanted to get her ears pierced! Earlier, George had brought up the idea of getting them pierced while we were in San Francisco, and Adalaya quickly agreed. With all the piercing and tattoo parlors in this section of town, we figured this was the place to do it. Much to our surprise, it wasn't as easy as we expected. There were a few places that I would not let my child go into, like "Big Mama's Tattoos & Piercing", and most of the other piercing parlors would not see children under 16. But they did highly recommend another shop on Haight Street called "Braindrops". We visited them, but they insisted on legal documentation for all 3 of us (to make sure we hadn't stolen a child and brought her in to be pierced and tattooed beyond recognition, I guess). We didn't have Adalaya's passport with us, so we ended up coming back another evening with 3 passports, my mom, and one nervous little girl.

Before you see the next few pictures, I want to preface them by saying that the guy who did the piercing, although highly pierced and decorated himself, was the most patient, kind, and precise person we could have wished to do the job. He was great, and the whole experience was a good one . . . and what a memory!
He's cleaning her ears in this shot.

Now he's marking the spots very carefully.

I don't have any photos of the act itself; I was too busy holding her hands. But he pierced her ears with a needle (which I can appreciate after Acupuncture school), and in piercing circles this is the best way, evidently. Later, he also recommended cleaning her ears with a saline solution rather than alcohol or peroxide, and he gave us a little bag of sea salt to make our own saline. So much different than the way I got my ears pierced at the mall years ago!

Here's Adalaya outside "Braindrops" with her ears pierced, feeling so good to be on the other side of this modern coming-of-age ritual.

Here's a view of a newly pierced lobe with it's new hoop.

The best part of our time in San Franciso was seeing my Mom and Scott (aka Lala and Poppy). They flew out to San Francisco to see us for 4 days, and Adalaya had been counting down the days till we saw them like it was Christmas! We all snuggled into a room at the Hilton in Chinatown, and from there we explored many other parts of the city and beyond. Here Adalaya's enjoying some much awaited Poppy time.

Our first full day together, we drove north to Muir Woods, a Redwood sanctuary which we greatly appreciated after a few days in the city.

Then we continued on to Sonoma and Healdsburg so that Lala and Poppy could sample the wine country. Another day, we sampled the many kinds of mass transit possibilities that are available in San Francisco. Of course, we rode the cable cars.

And naturally, Adalaya wanted to hang off the side while we rode one of the cable cars.

San Francisco is the only city in the world with a cable car system, and we went to the Cable Car Museum to see how it all works. It's amazing! Here is the "powerhouse" that keeps the cables in the road moving in order to propel the cable cars up the hills.

Here we are in part of an old cable car.

Then we rode a cable car to the "most crooked road" in America, Lombard St.

We caught another cable car to Ghiradelli Square, where we sampled some Ghiradelli Chocolate, of course.

We continued our journey from Ghiradelli Square down "The Embarcadero" by way of the beautiful antique electric street cars.

Here we are inside this one.

There are several vintages of the street cars, and the style below is my favorite. They are all painted different colors in remembrance of the street cars of other cities which are now long past.

I'd like to turn one of these into an RV and live in it! There'd be room for the whole fam damily!

While we were on The Embarcadero, we stopped for lunch at Butterfly Restaurant on Pier 33. We had seen a review for this restaurant while watching the local TV channel in our Mendocino B&B, and we were excited to find that it was as unique and delicious as the critics had claimed.

We were feeling adventurous, and we decided to bike across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito on Saturday. It was another beautiful day, and the streets were filled with people who were out for the "Fleet Week" festivities. Here we are, on route to the bridge.

Lala's leading the way.

Once we reached Sausalito, we stopped for lunch at a great Italian place, then headed to the waterfront to watch "The Blue Angels" air show from across the bay. It was much quieter on this side of the bay, thankfully.

There was a great view of San Francisco from here too.

From Sausalito, we took the ferry back to the San Francisco ferry building where we found ourselves in the midst of mass humanity in the streets after the air show.

It was a great day, but we were all exhausted when we returned to the hotel. George and I heard some music, however, coming from the Chinatown Square across from the hotel, so we wandered over to find a dragon dance in progress.

It was a treat for us to be staying so close to Chinatown, and nearly every night we went for a short escapade into the lively streets of Chinatown.

On Sunday (10/10/10), after my Mom and Scott left for the airport, we headed back over to "The Mission" to have brunch with Dan and Emma before going to "Decompression" - the crazy San Francisco street party which is a metropolitan "Burning Man" after-party. We borrowed some costumes from Dan and Emma, and (together with several of their friends) rode our bikes to "Decompression".
Here we are in our fine costumes. Everything George has on, except the belt, is fuzzy, and everything I have on, including the makeup, is silver. Adalaya, squished in the middle, is performing a trial-run for her "gypsy" Halloween costume. Dan's got a poultry theme going.

And here are George, Dan, and Emma at the party.

Here's a few of the many wild and crazy creatures we saw there.

It was not exactly a "PG" scene, so Adalaya and I left early to return to Dan's apartment for some quiet snuggle time.

We left San Francisco the next morning and made a "bee line" to Butano State Park where we had a decompression of our own - 2 nights in a nearly deserted campground in the middle of the Redwoods. Just what these woods creatures needed after a busy week in San Francisco!

We had an amazing time in San Francisco - the most fun I can ever remember having in a city! Thank you, Dan and Emma, for letting us crash in your living room and being such good tour guides. We especially send a big "Thank You!" (with hugs and kisses on top) to Lala and Poppy who went to great lengths to see their gypsy kin. We had so much fun, and we've made great memories! We miss you!

1 comment:

  1. I was so pleased you got to visit Dan and Emma in SF and see a bit of the stranger side of the city. Loved the costumes! Did you like the new Akea sofa Dan and I put together. We were so proud of our accomplishments. Rosanne told me she will get to see you in Costa Rica. How wonderful! I am soooo glad you are not driving through Mexico. Take care and traveling mercies. Aunt Martha